Wednesday 2 January 2019

Peninsula living (2015)

Peninsula means almost-island; a tongue or languet of land that is not-quite-surrounded by water. Peninsulas are otherworldly places that are neither mainland nor island. Concatenated together, their names form a lyrical prose-poem;

Monterey, Pilio, Mols,
Anaga, Dingle, Yamal.
Baja, Pinellas,
Natkusiak, Scania, Grenen.

The Wirral peninsula is roughly rectangular, about fifteen miles long and seven wide. At high tide, three sides of the rectangle are bounded by an unbroken stretch of water incorporating the River Dee, the Irish Sea and the River Mersey. The tide dominates the weather on the peninsula to such an extent that locals talk with pride of its beneficial micro climate. Pride is a common failing of peninsula dwellers the world over.

The psycho-geography of peninsula living is in its infancy. No doubt a sensitive enough observer would discern a gradient in the psychological effect that a peninsula has on its inhabitants. Those who live at the base of the peninsula are almost main landers. Those living at its head are effectively islanders. Much further from the towns and cities of the mainland, their lives and daily rituals are dominated by the tidal rhythms of the sea. It is only in recent history that it has become easier for those at the head of a peninsula to make a journey by land than by sea.

Life at the head of a peninsula is a life in the transition zone between sea and land. Ambiguous. Disorienting. Tempting though it is to always look out, away from the mainland, a living here needs to be made from what is available on the land behind and the sea in front.

Image of Caldy Hill from HERE.